By utilizing Modeling Instruction methodology, I have transformed my science classroom to be more inclusive, more inquiry-based and more robust.
I remember standing in the hallway with a giant pendulum swinging back and forth in front of me and the workshop facilitator asking us to determine the length of the pendulum. Never had I ever experienced a moment like this in any professional development workshop I had attended. I recognized at that moment that I had been approaching science teaching all wrong. My students were not challenged to develop models to solve problems nor were they encouraged to collaborate with their classmates to work out a solution. A transformation in my understanding of the role teachers should have in a science classroom began as I watched that pendulum swing back and forth. The equipment was so simple and yet the thought process involved in problem-solving was more complex than anything I had asked my students to engage in within the classroom.
Scientific endeavors begin through inquiry. Teachers utilizing traditional "sit and get" teaching methods must transform their practice to more inquiry-based strategies like those in a Modeling Instruction (MI) classroom. Often MI begins with activity before content and is the antithesis of traditional teaching methods. Engaging students in laboratory experiences before delving into the vocabulary and conceptual explanations affords students the opportunity to explore and have their own ideas and predictions.
Science classrooms should embody the principles of the scientific process. The scientific process includes how scientists search for answers to scientific questions by making observations, conducting experiments, analyzing data, and discussing their findings within the scientific community. Models drive questions, and those questions drive and inform experimentation.
Great Video on Modeling Instruction!!! Watch it!
Love this video. Enjoyed hearing your own journey and then hearing the student voices and how the changes in pedagogy made a difference for them. Would love to hear comments from other people who watch this!
In reply to Great Video on Modeling Instruction!!! Watch it! by Joni Falk
Thank you! I am proud of…
Thank you! I am proud of the transformation that my students have made in the classroom.
Thank you for your video of reflection. I loved your example of the pendulum problem. It shows how just one activity, one spark, can change the course of your teaching career. You can tell you spark your students curiosity daily.
In reply to Pendulum by Jennifer Donais
It is amazing how one…
It is amazing how one activity can have such an impact.
A student says, "I am…
A student says, "I am learning more because I am actually seeing it happen in front of me." Yes! I love this concept of placing the activity BEFORE learning content. Begin the wonder first then have them seek to find the answers in the resources (text, lecture, research) A great scavenger hunt of inquiry. IN other words, LIVE it so you can LEARN it!
Thank you for the URL to Modeling Instruction I will look at it more.
In reply to A student says, "I am… by Kathleen Donovan
Let me know if you have any…
Let me know if you have any questions about Modeling Instruction. The American Modeling Teacher's Association website has a lot of great information and research articles to support why teachers should begin with activity first.
This video was so well done…
This video was so well done. Hearing your story and reflections about how you transformed your teaching and approach is one that many teachers (especially newer ones) could find so helpful!
In reply to This video was so well done… by Kathryn Hobbs
Thank you. My students are…
Thank you. My students are so wonderful to work with and they really take ownership over their learning.
This rang very true for me,…
This rang very true for me, as I had a typical awakening at the beginning of my teaching career when I thought, "This is not how I and many others learn." Your video was very well designed, and I am envious of your classroom space!
Questions ALWAYS come first.
Once the question is asked...
Inquiry and investigation always comes before the answer. It is true to put the unknown in front of the know. As students move along they will realize they need tools, data, measurements, mathematics, etc.
We can guide them, but necessity is the mother of invention. As the questions become more clearly defined, the inquiry will be come increase.
The Power of the Pendulum
I loved this video - I recall at one of the Smithsonian museums there was (or maybe still it - it has been a while) a large pendulum. I would sometimes sit and watch it for hours. I appreciate how you want to engage with the information first as opposed to providing them information.
Changing the method of teaching..
Changing the method of teaching has made a great educational learning experience using inquiry-based to make connections toward more meaningful learning. Traditional teaching was boring for many students who hated science because it had no meaning to them. I have seen the difference in the students, especially special education students. The inquiry-based learning is more engaging, fun learning, and meaningful to the students as you know. Good Job!
Thank you for your inspiring video!
In reply to Changing the method of teaching.. by Diana Aston
I agree. Traditional…
I agree. Traditional teaching is boring. I am very engaged with the students now and love each day I go to work.
Encouraging Teachers and Admins that Change Is Needed
Thanks for this inspiring video! My question is this --> Modeling Instruction (MI) has changed my own life as well, but how do we convince more teachers and their admins that learning this new approach is worth the investment (of time and money)? Who/what convinced you to take a MI workshop? Who/what supported you to make the effort to implement it?
In reply to Encouraging Teachers and Admins that Change Is Needed by Rebecca Vieyra
Support for change
One of my colleagues asked me to join her to take a MI workshop. The workshop was offering free graduate credit and some supplies for implementing activities in my classroom. This made the workshop very attractive to sign up. Through the participation of the workshop, I formed a network of people who were all invested in making the change in their own classrooms. We were able to meet once a month to discuss the highs and lows of transforming our classrooms. Many of us still keep in touch 12 years later.
Love the modeling method!
I'm so glad you mentioned the modeling method in this video showcase. It is a method I use as part of teaching and agree, allows for more inquiry and student collaboration.
I find myself using this method more for the physical sciences (chemistry and physics), as opposed to the biological sciences. The storyline method of instruction for biology speaks to me, however I have not had a chance to implement it myself. What has been your experiences with modeling in biology?
Keep up the great work!
In reply to Love the modeling method! by Elegan Kramer
The approach to Biology is very similar to Chemistry - it follows a storyline. Students collect data and use it to construct models such as population change, structure of DNA, and evolution. I really enjoy modeling in the biology classroom.
What a perfect encapsulation about what makes modeling great!
What a wonderful description of why modeling instruction can transform student learning! Thanks so much for creating this snapshot of your teaching and your students' experiences; I look forward to sharing it more broadly with educators who are curious about modeling and inquiry-forward STEM teaching. :) Kirstin
When We Know Better, Do Better
THANK YOU for sharing your Ah Ha moment that suddenly transformed your teaching into something much deeper and more effective. The impact on your students will be exponential. We do what we know best until we too, learn something even more incredible. Thank you for sharing your process with us!!!
In reply to When We Know Better, Do Better by Jodi Zeis
When we know better
Thank you for watching! It is not easy admitting that what you are doing is not working to engage students. Making a change in your classroom is tough work. However, it is extremely rewarding.